Jefferson has a history of tourism directors with tenures less than one trip around the sun. Kevin Godfrey is the latest in the long line of those who only stayed for a cup of coffee at Jefferson’s Tourism Department.
In the most robust economy of the 21st century, so far, it would be best for Jefferson to not miss this high tide.
This is not to make light of the challenges confronting Jefferson’s tourism effort. The wisdom of Solomon is required to navigate various promotional streams of on-line, social media, traditional electronic media and print to arrive at the right mix to best tell the Jefferson story.
And what story do we want to tell? Is it come spend the day? Or should we be all about filling Jefferson’s delightful B&Bs and historic hotels? Is our target audience young marrieds or retired couples or girl-buddy trippers?
Being in the newspaper business, we know what it’s like to see costs exceed revenue and for customers to prefer to consume our product for free. Nevertheless, we know that if our business is to be, it is up to us. It is our task to create, reinvent, and innovate in response to new realities and new opportunities in our community. As the entrepreneur’s cliche goes, we notice that the harder and smarter we work, the luckier we get.
In the movie “A Beautiful Mind,” we were all introduced to the Nash Equilibrium, a revision to the original Adam Smith economic theory that every one in a group should do what is best for themselves.
“Incomplete. Incomplete,” says Nash played by Russell Crowe in the movie. Using the metaphor of a group of guys courting a beautiful blonde accompanied by her average friends, Nash convinces them it is best to go for the average girls first while “nobody goes for the blonde. The best result will come by everyone in the group doing what is best for himself and the group.”
It’s a fun bar scene to watch but what makes the Nash Equilibrium worth repeating is that it is truth rooted in some of the most important mathematical and economic theory discovered in the 20th century.
To that end, we enthusiastically salute the individuals and groups in Historic Jefferson that are working hard and working smart to maximize the contemporary potential of this beautiful, touristy town: The Marion County Chamber of Commerce, the I Heart Jefferson business association, all the community non-profit organizations, and even all of the work of the Tourism Department of the City of Jefferson in recent years. All of them have contributed to the progress the city has made to date.
The words of a friend who just visited Jefferson for the first time over Thanksgiving resonate, “Y’all. This place is BEYOND. Literally every other home is historically registered. I drove through the downtown square, impromptu, at twilight, and was speechless. Jaw dropping. I have never felt more at home somewhere, other than Colorado. Beyond!”
While there is more progress to be made, a look at the long line of Candlelight patrons on Alley street Saturday night signals Historic Jefferson’s best days may be ahead of us.
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